The 2017 NBA Finals matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors may be surrounded by more hype than any series in quite a few years. Part of it is due to the fact that these two teams met in the finals during each of the previous two seasons.
While there’s an even split between the two teams, with the Warriors winning in 2015 and Cavaliers in 2016, one team has a distinct edge this year in the betting odds.
According to OddsShark, the Warriors opened as heavy favorites to win the series at -240. The Cavaliers are priced at +200 to win the series. This means that if you believe LeBron James and company can get the job done, then you could walk away with a pretty penny on this bet.
So, the Warriors are favored, but what do the experts of the sports world think about the series? Let’s run down the picks and predictions from across the internet.
To start, the TNT analysts were split on their decision.
Zach Lowe of ESPN opted to go for the Warriors in six games, stating the following:
“They should be fresh enough to cut, screen, and pass with a crispness that is hard for any defense to track over 48 minutes — a visceral, blurry speed that vanished as the pressure mounted a year ago. They have hungered all season for this challenge. They should meet it with an urgency we haven’t yet seen from them. Cleveland has improved its defense after lazing away the winter, but if the best offense in league history plays with zippy diligence, the Cavs will suffer occasional breakdowns.”
As for the rest of the ESPN staff selections, the bulk of them opted to hop on with the Warriors as well. Of the 27 other names on the list, only five picked the Cavaliers to win the series. These names included J.A. Adande, Ian Begley, Dave McMenamin, Mike Wise and Michael Wright. Four of those five also picked the series to go to seven games.
CBS Sports offered up five picks of their own, but only four writers picked the Warriors and Cavaliers to meet in the finals. This begins with Bill Reiter, who chose the Warriors in seven games.
“Waiting, again, are the Golden State Warriors with an eye on revenge. This time, there is no 3-1 collapse — just a long, hard slog that Stephen Curry & Co. pull out in another epic Game 7.”
Matt Moore picked the Warriors as well, but in five games.
“The Warriors win the Game 5 they feel they should have last year and top off two titles in three years behind the biggest free-agency acquisition since James. Durant and Curry’s legacies are secured and everyone kind of shrugs because there’s nothing special or exciting about it — it’s just what everyone expected.”
Finally, James Herbert and Jack Maloney also picked the Warriors, with Maloney opting to take the Warriors in five games as well.
“Hopefully I’m proven wrong, but I don’t expect Warriors-Cavs III to be as compelling as Round 2 was last summer, and I’ll take the Warriors over the Cavaliers in five games.”
Sporting News was up next, with Sean Deveney offering up his analysis and pick, rolling with the Warriors in six games.
“The NBA needs a good series here, and the mere fact that it’s a third straight matchup means it will be compelling. But the Warriors just have too much frontline talent.”
Finally, Sports Illustrated reeled off a landslide of predictions in favor of the Warriors.
Lee Jenkins: Warriors over Cavaliers in 5
Ben Golliver: Warriors over Cavaliers in 5
Andrew Sharp: Warriors over Cavaliers in 5
Chris Ballard: Warriors over Cavaliers in 4
Matt Dollinger: Cavaliers over Warriors in 6
Rob Mahoney: Warriors over Cavaliers in 5
Rohan Nadkarni: Warriors over Cavaliers in 5
DeAntae Prince: Warriors over Cavaliers in 6
Jeremy Woo: Cavaliers over Warriors in 7
So after all the picks were tallied, the predictions look as follows:
That’s a pretty big landslide in terms of picking the NBA Finals matchup that features arguably the two best teams in the league. Time to see what the two most loaded teams in the NBA are capable of doing in a seven game series.